Melissa Eickhoff is embedded with the Honda Off-Road Racing Team for the Baja 1000. The team is fielding IndyCar star Alexander Rossi, team owner/driver Jeff Proctor and Baja veteran Pat Dailey in a Honda Ridgeline.
Let’s all admit it. We hate hashtags. While our logical and sometimes professional selves understand “why” they exist, we all hate that they exist.
Saturday was a rare day when we actually found them useful.
Baja, and the Baja 1000, defy definition from the perspective of our pampered U.S. lifestyles. That’s the appeal and the challenge. We relish in one of the last frontiers of the modern era, and yet, we get irritated when things don’t go our way. (I think I’ve just described motorsports.)
Now, back to hashtags… as we all post on social media to keep our fans, friends, and family updated on this brutal contest, we struggle to find the words. But we don’t want anyone to worry, so we turn to hashtags, in an attempt to downplay what so many don’t understand. To use everyday words to describe what happens in Baja, does it an injustice. It sounds dangerous, risky, and frivolous. And that’s the last thing we want anyone to think about this amazing place.
Motorsports is dangerous. It says so on my media vest. Everyone says they understand this concept, and yet most motorsports internet trolls love to point out all the ways danger happens on a race course. We know.
So we use hashtags.
We needed hashtags today. Lots of them. Here’s how I’d sum up this year’s Baja 1000 in hashtags…
Of course, that isn’t all of our story. Honda Off-Road Racing 709’s day started strong. The Ridgeline Baja Race Truck was third off the line and after 10 short minutes, Alexander Rossi had passed his competitors and was leading the class. Holding them off for about 90 miles, until #BajaHappened.
Rossi did roll-over and it sounded a bit epic, in true Rossi style. A 90-degree left over crest wasn’t as straight as anticipated at speed and sent the Ridgeline rolling onto its side, then end over end with a landing on the roof in an inconvenient ravine. Their tough ride accepted the challenge and after the locals put them on their feet and pulled them out, they were on their way. #BajaLocalsSaveTheDay
After a quick check of the cars and the racers at the next pit, they continued on. Rossi needed to make up for lost time and exorcise some frustration with a 100-mile demonstration of his racing prowess. #PassingHappens
The next pit at San Quintin was a scheduled driver change, but not a scheduled co-driver change. Evan Weller, a linchpin on the Honda Off-Road Racing team, needed to step out. They did some quick mechanical clean-up on leftover damage from the roll-over, and kept racing. #WeGotThis
Jeff Proctor got behind the wheel on a mission. He’s a great driver and no one knows this Ridgeline better than he does. Between he and Rossi, they found themselves back in the hunt. As any veteran of Baja racing knows, you might have a bad day, but there’s a damn good chance, someone else’s day is worse. #BajaHope
The Baja 1000 is being live streamed with vehicle tracking also available. Log onto www.score-international.com. Follow Rossi, Proctor and Dailey in the No. 709 Class 7 six-cylinder Honda Ridgeline.